The ultimate all-time world XV: Picked by 20 legends of the game

BACK-ROW:

BLINDSIDE-FLANKER: Richard Hill (England)

Sir Ian McGeechan: “One of the easier selections, if I’m honest. Hill seemed to know almost instinctively where to be and when.”

Martin Johnson: “It was a difficult choice but Hill, a quiet guy, very understated, was the pick. When he was with the Lions teams, if he didn’t play, we didn’t win. He would be embarrassed to be in this side, but he deserves it.

Lawrence Dallaglio: “It is unusual not to have a Springbok in my World XV but was Francois Pienaar better than Hill? Not in my opinion. The thing about Hill is that even at the highest level, he didn’t make mistakes.”

Phil Vickery: “Extremely gifted player who had all the ability in the world to play and run the ball. When we needed someone to dig in he was your man. He had the full tool bag and quietly got on with it.”


OPENSIDE-FLANKER: Michael Jones (New Zealand)

Martin Johnson: “Sean Fitzpatrick says he was the greatest player he ever played against, a mythical figure.”

Lawrence Dallaglio: “He had everything. Quick, athletic, skilful, brave, and a great team player. There have been some great No 7s; Winterbottom, Back, George Smith, Richie McCaw but none as good as Jones.”

David Campese: “Rugby’s original ‘Iceman’. He was an unbelievable player.”

Will Carling: “He had great acceleration and pace and could have played for most international midfields. Yet he was a no 7 who read the game brilliantly and was devastating in defence. He was the first multi talented openside.”

Jeremy Guscott: “He was one of those remarkable athletes who did everything supremely well and made it look easy. He is one of the all time great openside flankers, and it was fitting when he scored the first ever try in a Rugby World Cup in the opening game of the 1987 tournament against Italy.


NUMBER 8: Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand)

Sir Ian McGeechan: “His ability to bring others into the game, his ability to stay connected in the game himself, popping up repeatedly through different phases; all exemplary. And he dropped goals of course. A true original.”

Will Carling: “A number 8 who could drop a goal from the 10 metre line. For a forward his skills were outrageous. As comfortable playing 7s as 15s, he had better kicking and handling skills than some fly halves playing international rugby.”

Lawrence Dallaglio: “So talented, so physical, such a great understanding of the game and so bloody competitive”

Martin Bayfield: “There was something that set him apart. I have never come across a player with so much skill.”

*Click on the players name to see their selection

Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand), Sam Warburton (Wales), Ian McGeechan (Scotland), Martin Johnson (England), Lawrence Dallaglio (England), Jonny Wilkinson (England), Neil Back (England), Jonah Lomu (New Zealand), Martin Bayfield (England), Francois Louw (South Africa), Will Carling (England), Nigel Owens (Referee), Os du Randt (South Africa), David Campese (Australia), Phil Vickery (England), Adam Jones (Wales), Bill Mclaren (Commentator), Jeremy Guscott (England), Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand), and Mike Tindall (England).

%d bloggers like this: